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Author Topic: Landoll Co-op?  (Read 6555 times)
NJT5047
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« on: August 21, 2006, 10:21:37 AM »

Buses break down often enough to make one wonder what other options may be available, preferably something non-bankrupting, that would allow a low cost tow.   A quick, cheap way home...with the bus and all of your possesions.   We got a bus with a likely blown engine in SC, and Norms MC7 is disabled in Charlotte with a clutch failure.  Norms coach and trailer has already been broken into (welcome to Charlotte) and the bus will sit where it is for another week. 
There are probably hundreds of reasons to not consider this, but, how would group ownership of a Landoll trailer work? 
Wouldn't have to buy a tractor..that could be leased for a few days as necessary.   There are plenty truck driver sorts...some with flexible schedules (Dallas? And any other qualified operator) that have necessary license and such to operate a loaded Landoll.
I have no idea what a decent used Landoll is worth, but if shared among enough folk, the cost would be reasonable.
The trailer could be stored in some central area and would be less than 2 days for anywhere on the East Coast or East of the Miss. River really.  Depending on how quick a driver could get to the trailer, one day would be the norm on the East Coast.     
A good deal of red tape would be done away with because we would be a private hauler due to group ownership of equipment and load.    We would not be for hire.  Although someone could join the co-op, there would be some financial offset to prevent short term contracts.    We would be "self insuring" potential tow bills. 
We have much smarter folk than me reading the board...and I'm interested in what your thoughts are on the above concept.   Perhaps something already exists.   Good Sam and such are not the answer....they won't take you home.  They will move a bus out of the highway....then you're on your own with locals that may clean your clocks.  This is a situation that I want to avoid.   In the event of a breakdown, unless it was some simple fix, I'd rather pay to have my coach returned to my shop.
Let me be the first to offer a free, central point (North Carolina) to store a Landoll.   However, I would not be able to operate same....no CDL anymore due to poor eyesight.   I also have ample room to store a bus if necessary. 
The concept may be too onerous to manage, but it would offer a cheap way to transport a broken bus.   We would be paying for a 2 or three day tractor lease, compensation to a driver and fuel.  The trailer would not be expensive to maintain or license.    This would avoid the inevitable "hunt" for a reputable shop once broken down.
What about it?  Why, or why not?
Cheers, JR
« Last Edit: August 21, 2006, 10:25:12 AM by NJT5047 » Logged

JR Lynch , Charlotte, NC
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« Reply #1 on: August 21, 2006, 11:18:43 AM »

JR,
I just some checking with some friends of mine that are in heavy equipment sales.
I came up with prices on Landolls and JerDan heavy vehicle recovery trailers that range in price from $15K fo a late 70's model that needs quite a bit of work and a new winch up to $57K for a reposessed 2005 48'X102".
When looking at new trailers, prices went all the way up to $120K for one of the better units.
A tractor is easy to find, I can buy and put one on the road for less than $10K.
Leasing a truck is usually cost prohibitive as the rates can approach $2.00/mile plus fuel plus insurance.
Also most of the recovery trailers need either an engine and hydraulic pump on board or use a wet kit off the pto of the truck.

This is a great idea, and I will see if I can find anything that might work.
Maybe someone else can come up with viable ideas.
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« Reply #2 on: August 21, 2006, 11:27:50 AM »

Here's one on the E place. Brand new 2006 Landoll with winch. The bids are up to $40k.




http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&item=170019731549&ru=http://search.ebay.com:80/170019731549_W0QQfromZR18QQfsopZ1QQsspagenameZADMEQ3aBQ3aTB2Q3aUSQ3a2QQfviZ1

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« Last Edit: August 21, 2006, 04:01:41 PM by DrivingMissLazy » Logged

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« Reply #3 on: August 21, 2006, 11:35:00 AM »

JR,
You have an awesome idea, and I'd love to do my part to help ! My problem is $ ! I don't have any to invest ! But I do have a Class A CDL (citizenship denile license), withall endoresments, a place to park it, EXPERIENCE operating one, My location is centrally located for the entire country I can be anywhere in the country in 2 days ! Now the EXPENSIVE part is #1 buying a decent unit, #2 insurance, the rest are easy ! It'd easier to own a tractor than all the red tape of leasing one (I found out all about that when I was trucking!) I could even probably keep it busy with a local contact I have hauling generators and air compressors (Huge ones! for industrial use) to help defray the cost of insuring it. I would love to be able to help on this, but not having $ to invest in it, the best I could offer would be my services as driver/operator/maintainer (labor only) free of charge if we could put something together ! If anyone figures anything out, count me in and let me know! BK
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« Reply #4 on: August 21, 2006, 01:27:14 PM »

I have only one thing to say... License the trailer in Maine!  It's cheap & easy.
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« Reply #5 on: August 21, 2006, 04:22:38 PM »

JR,I think you've hit upon someything,if fact I know that you've hit upon something.I read this post while taking a lunch break,went out to work,screwed up the part I was working on because I couldn't think straight thinking about this post.Said to hell with it,and decided to come back in here and give you my reply.The rest of you chime in after I'm thru this posting this post,knowledge comes in numbers.

Your on to something big,I have had my share of breakdowns as a lot of us have,don't care how new the coach is,its not if,its when its going to happen.(or whatever your driving)Good Sams,AAA,and a whole bunch others will get you down the road a piece if you have a break down,don't know of any of them that will get you home if your hundreds of miles away.A lot of time and money are tied up in these coaches of ours,its one thing to have a break down,its quite another to have someone ripped your personnel possesions off.

You mention a Co-op,great idea,each person would have to come up with whatever $$ to join,and then would have an annual fee or whatever (suggestions needed).Their are a lot of people out there that have RVs,exspanding it further,there are a lot of people out there that have cars trucks whatever,not limited to just RVs.You would have people who are members that   have the equipment needed and on all the coasts to make all of this happen.

You, Busted Knuckle,myself included, have a place for the equipment ,and I'm sure their are others.

Where all of this is leading to could very realistically down the road lead to am outstanding business nation wide,and to those that jumped on the bandwagon now would profrit very nicely.I would be willing to bet,there are a lot of folks out there that would like to have a something like this,ain't nothing better then to have piece of mind when traveling.Ok all you bus nuts,lets here it from ya....Frank
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« Reply #6 on: August 21, 2006, 06:09:32 PM »

I have experienced group ownership before, The problem is group ownership. While you will find good group members, you will also attract duds, freeloaders, & creeps that wear it out & leave it for the next guy to have to fix before it can be used. There is a reason they cost so much.

On another note, I'm getting a bus moved 250 miles for ~$2.00 per mile put on the truck. This is a landoll move. The $2 also includes a driver/ operator that is experienced & knows what to do. He also keeps the rig it top condition & is ready to roll with only a phone call.

I hate to rain on the parade, but this is just my experience, YMMV

I'd love for you guys to figgure out a way to make it work & say "see, I told you it would work!"
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« Reply #7 on: August 21, 2006, 07:14:50 PM »

I have experienced group ownership before, The problem is group ownership. While you will find good group members, you will also attract duds, freeloaders, & creeps that wear it out & leave it for the next guy to have to fix before it can be used. There is a reason they cost so much.

On another note, I'm getting a bus moved 250 miles for ~$2.00 per mile put on the truck. This is a landoll move. The $2 also includes a driver/ operator that is experienced & knows what to do. He also keeps the rig it top condition & is ready to roll with only a phone call.

I hate to rain on the parade, but this is just my experience, YMMV

I'd love for you guys to figgure out a way to make it work & say "see, I told you it would work!"

Kyle,
I have the same fears. This is why it would need to be a true co-op with a board of directors and a membership plan. Also I think that you would want only one driver for a truck whether he was the owner and leased it to the co-op or was just a hired driver.
Many things along the way would need to be worked out by all of the membership whom I'm sure are much smarter than I am.

FMCA started out as just a bunch of bus nuts wanting to help each other.
The Farm Co-op assoc. was put together by farmers for farmers.
REA's were put together for the same purpose, I think that their downfall is combining into large corporate organizations like Progress Power, Cinergy and Northern States Power among others.

I'd love to see it work, I'm just not smart enough to do it.
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NJT5047
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« Reply #8 on: August 21, 2006, 07:17:57 PM »

I have experienced group ownership before, The problem is group ownership. While you will find good group members, you will also attract duds, freeloaders, & creeps that wear it out & leave it for the next guy to have to fix before it can be used. There is a reason they cost so much.

On another note, I'm getting a bus moved 250 miles for ~$2.00 per mile put on the truck. This is a landoll move. The $2 also includes a driver/ operator that is experienced & knows what to do. He also keeps the rig it top condition & is ready to roll with only a phone call.
I hate to rain on the parade, but this is just my experience, YMMV
I'd love for you guys to figgure out a way to make it work & say "see, I told you it would work!"

Kyle, you make good points...first thing...who's moving your coach for $2.00 per loaded mile?   Is this a "favor"...it is when compared to the estimates I've found so far.   If I could match the $2. buck per mile, I'd be shickled titless!   More research tomorrow.   I don't believe too may Landoll operators will work for $2 bucks per mile.  The operating expense of the truck and driver will cost almost that much.   $2 bucks is about what I would have figured as fixed expense.   Making it work is easy...paying for it may not be. 
Regarding the use...it wouldn't be a "user" item.  The group would have specific drivers for the thing...wouldn't be something that would just get picked up and used and maybe returned when someone else needed it. 
Jay, I didn't see a reserve on the Landoll being bid off, but I'd be surprised it doesn't go a lot higher.   Cool looking tractor for sale too!
We wouldn't need a tri-axle unit...dual axles will easily handle 40K lbs.   A bus isn't really...in trucking terms...a very heavy item.  It is a long item, and tall.  The height would require a dedicated operator.   Routes would have to be planned.   As Dallas states, a powered winch would be required, but is generally part of these trailers. 
The lowest deck height that I've seen is about 30"...that would make a minimum of 14' transit.   
Interesting thoughts so far...perhaps some company that owns a Landoll is interested in offering a bus tow service like a Good Sam deal.  We pay an annual  fee and get significantly reduced rate towing.   Or we get screwed.  Who knows. 
The trailer would only be available to members due to  the not-for-hire status.  I suppose anyone could "buy in" at any time.   Private carrier only...like farmers.   If doing a "for hire"...the insurance and permits would be extremely expensive.   I used to haul large boats (up to 40') anywhere on the East coast.  The customer was responsible for insuring his boat.  My truck and trailer were only insured for liability.  The boat was technically a "service" item, and I was moving it for our service department.  No matter where it went, or was delivered too.  I would do something, even an appraisal, to make sure that the repair order reflected that the boat was a service item.  That made (technically..not really in the spirit of the law) the haul a private carrier.   That is the only way to compete with the nationa haulers.  I made really good money doing this.   But, as with all things...the boat business fell on hard times.  Sorta like the automobile business today...and probably the RV business.     
There are plenty of buses breaking down.  Quite a few people really don't have any specific place to tow a bus...they will use a DD dealer or whatever.  That would sort of limit this "bus moving" concept.  Possibilty of associating with some bus repair facilities.  There are good shops around.    If I experienced a major failure...I'd want the bus back in my shop.  Period.   That would be a major plus for me.   If I were a little younger, I'd put a pit and a nice shop out here...but, at 61, too late for that (I have plenty of property if anyone wishes to attempt such an endeavor).   As for hiring a mechanic, I've not seen many that weren't working that anyone would want to hire. 
Not many folk want to work on buses, and fewer know what they are doing.   
Maybe we could get Luke to do a "franchise" deal down here in North Carolina. 
I'll bet Luke and his crew have some thoughts on moving buses.   
Ya'll keep the comments coming!
Later, JR

 
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JR Lynch , Charlotte, NC
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« Reply #9 on: August 21, 2006, 08:27:11 PM »

This may be old news to some of you, but we just joined CoachNet emergency road service which comes with advice from "certified" mechanics, through Escapees.  $240 for 3 years.  Seems to me they are supposed to get us fixed or hauled to a decent shop and help make sure we don't get ripped.
i think i do see the benefit of the heavy hauler to get you home to a local fix it shop or where you can do it yourself.
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« Reply #10 on: August 21, 2006, 11:16:47 PM »

I couldn't find prices of $2.00 per truck mile, but I just called a few places. The prices I got worked out to almost $4.00 a mile. I would be interested in such a co-op.

Phil Zisakis
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« Reply #11 on: August 22, 2006, 05:12:29 AM »

The $2.00 is for miles put on the truck - from gate to gate. A ~500 mile haul will take up most of his day.

When the same driver pulled my other bus, it was ~$100/ hour. I'm guessing the 500 mile trip will take close to 10 hours, especially when you add in the time to load & unload.

A friend just bought a cabover & trailer to move his buses, he has a small fortune in the rig & it needs maintence. The cost of fuel is gonna be around $.50 per mile traveled. This co-op trailer will have some serious miles to travel just to get to the coach in need.

Another thought - What if we formed the co-op to buy in to an existing road service provider for the purpose of getting extra benefits/ special rules for those in the co-op. That way we are using a network of service providers & the overhead is spread over a larger group than just us in the co-op.

Another thing, The tow service I'm using isn't in the phone book, stays busy with his regular customers, & is picky about what he tows. I found him by calling the local charter bus places to find out who they use. This guy knows the DOT rules & is very careful in loading & unloading.

I also DO NOT challange his fees, I ask so that I'll have enough cash to pay him (sometimes the loan takes a few days  Grin )
« Last Edit: August 22, 2006, 05:26:15 AM by kyle4501 » Logged

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« Reply #12 on: August 22, 2006, 05:15:26 AM »

I couldn't find prices of $2.00 per truck mile, but I just called a few places. The prices I got worked out to almost $4.00 a mile. I would be interested in such a co-op.
Phil Zisakis

Phil,
You are in the ball park, I have good friends who own Landoll's and they get $4.00 +  (sometimes a fuel surcharge, or loading fee,or make the customer pay tolls,permits, & hwy taxes in places they don't normally operate! On the other hand they've let ME use their truck & trailer to go get one and bring back to my shop and only charge me $2.00 a mile with me doing the work/driving! and only when it came straight back to my shop!)

JR
You bring up very good points and with a couple of exceptions are correct on height, & weight issues ! I have been warned at scales with a bus on a Landoll for being over weight on the trailer tandems (local scale gave me a verbal warning) with a MCI 102D3 (not DL 45') that had a 60 series in it! So the triaxle would aviod that hassel !And you bring up a very good point about the height issue in most cases you can load and haul a bus on a Landoll with no problem, but what about all the ones with raised roofs? Ok here yer gonna have to know the exact height of everything, and contact the states where you'll be traveling they will sell you a permit with an assigned rte. and tell you if you need an escort vehicle w/height pole or not! (Mo $)

There are some very good ideas here, and some genuine concerns also! I'd love to see it work, and believe it could if we could work out the details. I wish I'd had the $ when my close friend/part time boss closed his wrecker service and sold all his equipment I could've bought his 1991 Freightliner Truck (fresh inframe 425 cat 13 spd D/O) & 2000 Landoll Trailer for $60,000. But I didn't have the funds, then or now! If I could afford it I'd get one and register it to KY Lakeside Travel's Busted Knuckle Garage and insure it that way too! (shop use only, then anything on deck would either be going to the shop or coming from the shop. But still have the companies DOT 3's and IFTA, etc if caught out somewhere and needed them!) As I said before I've got experience operating and maintaining them, and hve contacts to put it to work while not in use to help defray costs, and I'd be willing to be the operator at costs! My problem is getting the capitol to get it started!
One thing I agree on totally is that there needs to only be 1 or maybe 2 experienced operators regardless of who! To insure proper maintance, prevent damage too the units being hauled, and be sure it is operated in compliance with all laws & regulations!

FWIW BK  Grin
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Busted Knuckle aka Bryce Gaston
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« Reply #13 on: August 22, 2006, 05:25:55 AM »

Dallas and I were just kicking this idea around in the Bus Garage and came up with a couple of thoughts....

If the idea was sown on fertile ground, both east and west of the Mississippi, and went to fruition...forming two co-ops..and a reciprocity agreement between the two groups..then any of the Eastern Folks broken down in the West could be hauled to the River where our rig could pick it up and finish the delivery and vice-versa.  Scheduling would be the only problem there.

While it might sound reasonable...the two groups would probably have to do some paper work in order to appear to be the same Co-Op for the Regulating Authorities.

Somehow a simple good idea get get terribly muddled with the interference of regulations! Huh

NCbob
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« Reply #14 on: August 22, 2006, 07:00:42 AM »

There are a lot of pieces to this puzzle that need to be put in place,but I think it would work.Dallas mentioned that FMCA got started in somewhat the same way,but with a whole lot less money.Equipment and personeel doing the services I believe would have to be us.I would think that maybe we would need to just start with just one state and see how it all goes ( a trail so to speak ) Money of course is a big issue,I would think that the brunt of it would have to come from us just to get set-up.If some one was to donate a Prevost or two so that we could sell it to buy equipment or such ......*smiling*.....that would help. Come on people,their are a lot of you out there that have these answers.I like a lot of others, have the time and place,but not the capital. Fundraisers,donations and what you.Suggestions....suggestions.......suggestions,think positive.....Frank
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« Reply #15 on: August 22, 2006, 07:37:56 AM »

First off, let me say, I think this is an awesome idea...however I agree with those who say someone will find a way to abuse and exploit the system. I think hooking up with an established country wide hauler, and setting up a sort of "insurance" contract as a group might work. No worrys for us on upkeep and maint. of the equipment, and also be covered by their insurance while our stuff is on their trailer....just my .02 cents
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« Reply #16 on: August 22, 2006, 08:16:47 AM »

Dallas and I were just kicking this idea around in the Bus Garage and came up with a couple of thoughts....
If the idea was sown on fertile ground, both east and west of the Mississippi, and went to fruition...forming two co-ops..and a reciprocity agreement between the two groups..then any of the Eastern Folks broken down in the West could be hauled to the River where our rig could pick it up and finish the delivery and vice-versa.  Scheduling would be the only problem there.
While it might sound reasonable...the two groups would probably have to do some paper work in order to appear to be the same Co-Op for the Regulating Authorities.
Somehow a simple good idea get get terribly muddled with the interference of regulations! Huh
NCbob

Good thoughts, might I add that I know of a shop on 15 acres 30 min. east of the Mississippi River on the TN, KY, IL, MO, AR State lines area ! How much more centrally located could ya get? And that shop is hosting the "TN Fall Bus Bash Oct 26th thru 31st!"(opps shameless plug, sorry! LOL!) Not to mention I have a cool program on the computer we use for generating charter quotes that tells me what my costs will be on a particular trip, where we could figure out the costs to the member before ever "Roll' n' Out" so they'd know if it were cost effective, and if they'd have the needed funds to cover the expenses! (just a thought FWIW) BK Grin
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« Reply #17 on: August 22, 2006, 08:39:06 AM »

Just noodling this thing around in my mind a question entered....Voila, almost a miracle! Roll Eyes

Would this thing be like spare parts...you know you need to carry them  but if you've got 'em you rarely ever need 'em? Huh

Bob
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« Reply #18 on: August 22, 2006, 08:57:28 AM »

Just noodling this thing around in my mind a question entered....Voila, almost a miracle! Roll Eyes
Would this thing be like spare parts...you know you need to carry them  but if you've got 'em you rarely ever need 'em? Huh
Bob

That's pretty much the way I see it. But on the other hand if done properly the trailer could still be put to use to make it pay for itself, while still being available on short notice for the members use WHEN needed! BK  Grin
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Busted Knuckle aka Bryce Gaston
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« Reply #19 on: August 22, 2006, 06:43:18 PM »

Now, this is going to be considered a "negative post" and I don't want to rain on anyone's parade, but it's natural for me to look at something from all angles, (it's a woman thing I think), and I have a couple of questions and points, ok?   Embarrassed

You need commercial insurance on the semi and trailer both.  One Freightliner truck and trailer cost us $3,000 a year for liability insurance, and we had a great "loss payout record" at that time.  Remember, all "owners" are liable for any damage done by a vehicle they own, so I would suggest that a several million dollar policy should be in effect, since no one sues for less than several million dollars anymore.  The other thing you have to do, is figure out a way for the insurance to cover someone's bus, when it's on the trailer, in the case of a wreck.  Someone will have to appraise that bus and pay fair market value if it is severely damaged or totalled.  What if the owner disagrees with the valuation?

As you ALL are aware, you'll need to plan on replacing tires on both the trailer and semi regularly, and there's the normal maintenance, oil changes, etc.  What about truck repairs?  What if it blows a motor or transmission?  How are you going to handle making decisions about things like that. . .what should be done, what could be done, and what really doesn't need to be done?  Who makes the decision on what is legitimate use of the truck and trailer and what is not?  Will it be used ONLY for a member's bus, and what constitutes and "covered breakdown"?  Are there any rules determining things like this?  I mean, let's say that my bus is fine, but my toad is damaged.  Can I have someone haul the toad back home for me if it can't be towed?  or is it JUST for the bus?  If my brother takes my bus on a trip, is it still covered?  What about my other busses. . does it matter if I haul any of them, or just one primary one? 


An employee of ours wrecked our first semi. Cry  The Oklahoma DOT was on site immediately and climbed all over that truck and trailer to check everything from brakes to wheel bearings, looking for leaking oil and grease, you name it, they checked it out.  Luckily, they didn't find anything, since Larry is a maintenance nut, but as the owner, yep, any tickets would have been ours.  I've since been told that it was amazing that they didn't find an excuse to ticket us, and that often, those fines number in the tens of thousands.  Wow! Shocked 

If you broke down, oh, let's say, 800 miles from the trailer, looks to me you'd have the cost of diesel to get the trailer to your bus, the bus to your home/mechanic, and then the trailer back to it's resting place.  Now, that's if someone is willing to leave on a moment's notice and drive to your location, and do that on his own time, for free.  I don't think it's realistic to expect that any one person, will always be available to drop everything and drive to whatever location you may be, on a moment's notice, with no type of reimbursement for his time.  I would NEVER ask anyone to do that for me!  Also, most of the time, if you break down, the State Patrol or local police will want that vehicle moved pretty darn quickly, or they will move it for you.  Realistically, if you're going to break down, do it close to the trailer.  If you're 800 miles away from it, well, you're probably looking at anywhere from a 12 to 18 hr wait for the trailer, IF, and that's a big if, IF, you can reach them and they can leave right away to come get you.  It's not realistic to expect that you will be able to leave a disabled bus along side a highway or any number of places for that long waiting for help.  More likely, you'll have to have it towed at least to a yard somewhere, so that cost will be in addition to your yearly "association fee" along with the other fees associated with this specific long haul. 


We recently paid someone to haul three semi trailers for us, because it was a LOT cheaper to have someone do that for us, than for us to replace the front tires on our own semi, insure it, and then run and get the trailers ourselves.  Again, we own the semi, free and clear, but it's too expensive to leave insurance on it for the occasional use.   Huh

Food for thought: what about looking in a different direction, such as some type of agreement with a vehicle transport company, perhaps one that has offices in several states, that could either be on a retainer or at least offer a discount to a group? 

I'm sorry if anyone is offended at my questions or think I am trying to be a "nay-sayer", but I can just see a lot of issues that could crop up and cause dissent between members of this forum who still love each other right now.  I'm open to someone convincing me that financially, this setup would make sense, but right now, I just don't see it.  Undecided Christy Hicks
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« Reply #20 on: August 22, 2006, 06:52:11 PM »

There you go again Christi, confusing us with the facts...Just kidding!  Christi does make several good points.  As I have said before, other opinions are of little value if they don't present a different perspective. 
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« Reply #21 on: August 22, 2006, 07:24:37 PM »

Another thing I might mention. . .we (well, actually I, Embarrassed) bought a boxcar.  Was going to use it for storage.  Called a local hauler and checked rates with him before bidding. . . got it for $400.  Then, when we actually tried to arrange to move it, we couldn't fit it under a couple of electric wires.  It was 12' tall.  Unfortunately, no matter which way we came, there was at least one set of wires that wouldn't lift up high enough to get that boxcar, on a trailer, under them.  They needed permits just to move it across town, so I can imagine how many and how much it would cost to haul a bus through several cities and states.

Our one son did hauling for awhile, but the numerous state permits and fees he had to pay just ate his lunch.   Also, f he had to go to the West Coast, he paid anywhere from $0.50 to $1.00 a gallon more for diesel than he paid here.  Then, oh, he'd blow a tire or damage something on the trailer and there was yet more money down the tubes.  It seemed that by the time he paid all the fees and jumped through all the hoops, he made so little, that finally he gave it up and got a "real" job.

Larry also pointed out to me that the $3000 a year we paid for insurance on our truck and trailer was for liability only, not full coverage.  I would think that everyone would want full coverage on the truck and trailer if it was in a co-op.

Thanks, Dennis, for not making me feel bad for being so negative.  I'd rather pat someone on the back, but I'd also rather have someone irritated at me  Cry than have them make a mistake because I kept my mouth shut. 

On the other hand, now I'm wondering exactly how often we should expect to break down with a major repair needed,  Undecided.  You guys have me scared. Shocked  Every motorhome we owned was an "oldie but goodie" and yet the only major repair we had was a transmission that blew in New Orleans.  We were treated so nicely and the guy did such an excellant job at such a great price that I wrote a letter to the main company complimenting him Grin.  I realize that these big diesel's are so much more expensive to work on, but I guess I wasn't planning on breaking down so often that I was spending a couple of thousand a year, every year, on towing.  Am I too naive? Undecided  Christy
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« Reply #22 on: August 22, 2006, 07:42:09 PM »

Food for thought: what about looking in a different direction, such as some type of agreement with a vehicle transport company, perhaps one that has offices in several states, that could either be on a retainer or at least offer a discount to a group? 

Thanks Christy,
I'm not bummed to the point of self-immolation or anything. 
I believe the above may well be the best possible outcome.  If enough people wanted to get into the Landoll business, it could well be done.  However, it would be absolutely limited to a specific coach owned by a member.
Not toads.  The trailer would also not be insured for income producing use between the rare bus haul since the co-op wouldn't be permitted for hire.   If the trailer were kept in an enclosed building, maintenance would be low.  Tires would be about it. 
Regarding tractor breakdowns...could happen...always lease a tractor on the spot...if a tractor had to be left on a lot, not biggie.  Worse case..lease a tractor, deliver broken bus, go back and get the tractor.    Unlikely the trailer would cause major problems that couldn't be easily addressed.   I've owned tractors in the past and never had any major issues that were not well telegraphed...just had to pay attention. 
Initially my thoughts were to use a lease truck...don't know.  Tractor is cheap compared to the trailer.  Dallas had some numbers that would steer away from leasing...that's why we are discussing this.  Perhaps someone with FMCA or Good Sams will pick up on the concept and offer the service for maybe an additional $100 bucks per year plus something like $2 bucks a loaded mile?   There a a good many riggers that could do this..but they don't want to haul bus conversions.   They'll haul commercial equipment.  There's a large wrecker and crane company near me and I've called them to see what sort of charges would be incurred for both wrecker service or trailer transport.  The won't offer a price to load the coach..but a 100 mile tow was about $450.   
There are folk around, that would be able to safely operate such equpment, and they would be available pretty quickly.  Drivers would be compensated just as fuel would be levied on an "as used" basis.  This would control the
"free use" syndrome.  Most rigging companies that own this sort of equipment are getting $4 to $5 bucks per mile from the time they leave the yard until they return.  They'll charge for pulling axles, overnights, extra for fuel, chain fee, you name it.  The cost can be huge.  And, often, unless carelessness can be shown, whatever they damage is just not going to be compensated. 
However, we are not talking about a "free" service...more like a "net cost" service. 
Regarding value disputes on a coach...whatever value a bus owner pegs his comprehensive insurance, is what the bus is worth. If it ain't insured, the owner has exposure.   A co-op is not bound by law to cover whatever private property is loaded and being moved...a contract or LTL carrier is.   This would have to hammered out.
Don't want to sound like a broken record, but I would pay several thousand dollars to have my coach returned to my
shop in order to avoid spending 10s of thousands of dollars for major repairs that I have essentially no control over, may have to leave a lot of valuable stuff in a truck repair yard, and would have no way of following up if it didn't work as promised.   One of those things.   
We'll just see where this discussion goes...if anyone knows of a rigging company that would be interested in contracting (Retainer?) for some hauling, post what you got....Kyle?   What about your carrier? 
I don't know how often coaches break down.  There are two right now within 100 miles of me.  Norm's coach and trailer has been broken into and items stolen, his transmission is out of the coach and it cannot be moved.  Who knows. 
There's no hurry to do anything.  Just floating an idea.  We'll see if there's much interest.   Any major breakdown in a bus is ripe for cleaning someone's wallet out.  I doubt most of us would break down..but. 
Christy, see you in Arcadia...!
 
Best, JR
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« Reply #23 on: August 23, 2006, 05:40:14 AM »

In my opinion major mechanical breakdowns are almost always because the bus was not in good mechanical condition and/or maintained properly. Since most concern is with the engine and transmission, don't leave home when they are on their last legs. It is always cheaper to do repairs in your local area when you have lots of time to shop around.

Collision damage that prevents the bus being driven without major repair, must be pretty rare. In all my years on the bus BBs I can only remember a couple of cases being reported.  If an 'old' bus is damaged to the point where it cannot be driven it is probably a write-off. 

It can be expensive to play with the big boy's toys. A 10 year old S&S can be bought for less than a 50 year old converted bus and is a lot cheaper tp maintain. I am always concerned with wannabees who contiually question the cost of repairs and maintenance on X model of bus that they are looking at. It just comes down to "If you have to ask, you can't afford it".
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« Reply #24 on: August 23, 2006, 05:51:45 AM »

I have one of the older buses. I also want mine returned home if it suffers a major break down. But, for me, the reality is a minimum of $4.00 per loaded mile (The co-op can't beat that, by much anyway) & If I'm just 1000 miles from home, well $4000 will go a long way to fix what ails it & then drive it home.

I don't know, but from what I've seen, most bus nuts are of limited financial ability (cheap misers  Grin ) & the extra cost of dues to the co-op is not going to be percieved as a value when you have to pay mileage too, even if it is at a reduced rate.

Christy is right about all the complications.

The Landoll co-op is basically towing insurance. So write down some REALISTIC benefits / rules that could be added to an existing road service plan. Then ask them what the adder would be.

For example, I used to be a member of AAA & that cost X per year & you got free towing for ~10 miles. You could upgrade your membership for an additional Y per year & get free fowing for 100 miles.

When you write the rules, be serious & realistic. Free towing from coast to coast is gonna run the dues thru the roof. A per loaded mile fee will allow more realistic number for dues/ premiums.

The road service rider is probably the best way to persue this to keep cost & liability down, after all, most already have some form of emergency road service policy.

BTW, the towing service I'm using is a small outfit, owner + 1 driver + secretary. He has his regular customers that get priority & he is selective in what he tows for fill in work. Is he giving me a special rate? I don't really know, what I do know is I don't argue pricing or try to tell him how to do his job. I do ask questions, but I don't insult him with them. I also stay out of his way, yet I'm paying attention so I'm ready to help if he asks.

I'd consider paying extra for the rider.... If it was a reasonable #. My first priority is to do the maintence required to prevent road side failures, I'd rather not 'ride it till it breaks, then fix it'.

Just my thoughts.
(I have a neighbor with a towing service (no landoll) & the crap he has to endure from some people......)
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« Reply #25 on: August 23, 2006, 10:50:02 AM »

In my opinion major mechanical breakdowns are almost always because the bus was not in good mechanical condition and/or maintained properly. Since most concern is with the engine and transmission, don't leave home when they are on their last legs. It is always cheaper to do repairs in your local area when you have lots of time to shop around.
Collision damage that prevents the bus being driven without major repair, must be pretty rare. In all my years on the bus BBs I can only remember a couple of cases being reported.  If an 'old' bus is damaged to the point where it cannot be driven it is probably a write-off. 
It can be expensive to play with the big boy's toys. A 10 year old S&S can be bought for less than a 50 year old converted bus and is a lot cheaper tp maintain. I am always concerned with wannabees who contiually question the cost of repairs and maintenance on X model of bus that they are looking at. It just comes down to "If you have to ask, you can't afford it".

Stan to some extent I agree however I personally know for a fact that it is not always true ! I am very picky about the maintance of our chater buses, and on December 30, 2006 sent out our 102A3 headed from Martin, TN to Wolf Mountain/Lake Juniluska, NC and 100 miles from the shop the 2 yr old reliabilt 6V92TA in apparent perfect condition, cracked a head and locked up an engine in a coach maintained to such a degree I'd sent it on any trip anywhere even if it'd be 6 months and 60,000 miles again before I saw it (I only dream of someone paying for a charter like that! LOL!). That said I know first hand anything can and will happen no matter how well  you maintain a unit! It also reminds me of 2 very successful chater company owners remarks to my father an I at different times/places away from each other when we remarked that we hoped to some day be able to afford nice brand new coaches someday like theirs, to get away from having to constantly work on them or worry about breaking down (which has only happened that 1 time! KOW!)out on the road with customers on board ! And I quote Danny Brantley of Brantley Charters Lexington, TN to me "Hey if you can maintain what you have, with out repeated breakdowns, you're better off than with these new ones high payments that still breakdown!" & John Stancil to my dad "Hey even new ones breakdown, as a matter of fact the only ones that don't break down are the ones that sit on a lot and don't go anywhere! You & your son are doing a great job if you've been in business 3 yrs and only had 1 breakdown!" I repeat we've only had 1 breakdown on the road KOW (knock on wood!), but I know of other companies with a lot larger maintance budgets and alot newer coaches that have had breakdowns ! So just because a coach breaksdown doesn't mean the owner doesn't maintain it or at least try to! FWIW ! Just my opinion which won't even buy you a piece of gum out of the lions club bubble gum machines anymore! (they've all gone from a penny to a quarter!" LOL! BK Grin

PS. oh yeah Stan, everybody's entitled to their own opinion even if it is wrong! LOL just kidding I get told that around here so often I had to repeat it! BK  Cool
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« Reply #26 on: August 23, 2006, 11:19:12 AM »

I have one of the older buses. I also want mine returned home if it suffers a major break down. But, for me, the reality is a minimum of $4.00 per loaded mile (The co-op can't beat that, by much anyway) & If I'm just 1000 miles from home, well $4000 will go a long way to fix what ails it & then drive it home.

Christy is right about all the complications.

When you write the rules, be serious & realistic. Free towing from coast to coast is gonna run the dues thru the roof. A per loaded mile fee will allow more realistic number for dues/ premiums.


My initial gut reaction is with the above, but I am curious to what numbers ($$$.$$)  per person you are talking and how it would work.

It would take one heck of alot of people to bring the cost down to reasonable vs risk.

And to be honest, I just don't see the numbers needed to justify even the initial equipment cost, much less the maintenance.

Not trying to be negative, just sharing my thoughts.

Cliff

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« Reply #27 on: August 23, 2006, 11:46:00 AM »

How to bring down the costs................one suggestion would be to use Veggie oil,how much fuel can a truck legally have on board,or is their a law at all.  Kind of curious,have you or anybody you all know ever been pulled over by the police man,just so he could check your fuel to make sure your not using the red diesel only to discover your using Veggie oil.Can you imagine the saving if you didn't have to buy diesel  at more then $3.00 a gallon.There are those out there that are using Veggie oil in both buses and trucks.This is a post I'm enjoying,keep bringing on the pros and cons.....Frank.
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« Reply #28 on: August 23, 2006, 11:50:44 AM »

Busted Knuckle: You notice  that I said 'almost always' and your engine failure was unfortunate, but not the kind of failure that would warrant trailering the bus for a thousand miles or more. Shops change heads every day for a lot less than the towing bill. Also keep in mind that as a commercial charter company you likely put more miles on your buses every six months than the average conversion owner does in a liifetime.  Figure it out on the failure per mile driven and you will see that the number of failures in 20k or even 50k miles is pretty low in a well maintained bus.

DD 2 strokes with unit injectors were famous for getting home. I know one trucker who drove an 8V92 home with a broken crankshaft.
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« Reply #29 on: August 23, 2006, 01:27:39 PM »

WOW! The Landoll on the E place went for over $71K

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« Reply #30 on: August 23, 2006, 06:27:03 PM »

I have been reading all the post on the Co-op and thinking what about this, If we could find four Companys with the type of rig we are speaking of, lets say in four different parts of the country, in the south east and south west and north west and north east. Contact them and tell them what we have in mind, that there is a large group of busnut's and that we would like to use there services when needed and so to speak have them on call, so when we do call them it's not like a stranger calling. At this time we may be be able to get some type of cost basic. Also when we need help we would have a place to call that has the equipment to do the job and is familiar with the goup.   We have busnuts all over the country so we should be able to check this out, but we would need some type of format to present. I think it would be a lot easier when you have a brake down not to have to start looking and just be able to make a call, a person has enough frustration at this time and at least this would be one thing out of the way.r  Just thinking out loud. 
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« Reply #31 on: August 23, 2006, 07:28:33 PM »

Yeah...the Landoll still went for about $25K less than retail.   That was, for all purposes, a new unit.  Ebay bidding doesn't get serious until the last 4 minutes of bidding.  I usually wait until the last minute...gotta have  broadband to do that. 
Busnut 104 mentioned something that could be sort of mirrored...what if we had a network of bus friendly diesel shops located around the US?   That would have similar benefits.  Still, if you blow an engine or a trans...a $2K tow bill would be beneficial to me...but, unless you plan to do your own work, or have a local mechanic, returning the bus home may not be as beneficial. 
Sort of like breaking down in Lukes front yard.  You'd be in good hands. 
What do Greyhound and bus charter companies do when they break down?  Tow? Take the coach to a specific shop near the breakdown? Or do they tow it back to their shops? 
My view of this may be rather myopic since I have the capacity to R&R bus engines here and have had that privelege.  Still, If you had 150 people on the East Coast with a couple hundred a year for such service, that may influence someone...?  It would influence me.  There are a lot of bus owners that don't do the 'net like we do.  They just ain't connected.
I'm already paying Good Sam $90 (or thereabout) per year for a very short tow. 
I don't agree that well maintained coaches don't break down.   They will.
I do agree that you won't have the picky things happening that occur on poorly maintained coaches.  And, the newer the coach, the more expensive it is to repair.   If a major engine problem occurs...just a major overheat would do it,  a DD dealer is going to get upwards to $15 K for a 6V92T rebuild.   And, the coach may be out of service for weeks.  May not...
If you can change your own engine...there are take-out engines around for $3K and up.    If you have a Mercedes or 60 series...a used engine could cost upwards to $20K with a good core.  Another $4K without.  Depends on what you find.
While there are two broken buses nearby, I agree, that they don't suffer major breakdowns very often. 
Perhaps just a temporary secure storage area would be good to know about?   That's the purpose of the Frapper. 
So far, the co-op thingy ain't looking too good.  Only about 3 positives..and a lot of "not too good an idea" posts. 
The DIY mechanics are in favor.  One never knows.   
Wonder if Walker Coach still has that Landoll that's pictured loaded with a bus on their website?  Is the website still up?
Who was moving their coaches?
How far is reasonable to tow a bus on a wrecker?  I suppose a diff or tag failure would preclude this. 
Still looking for ideas.... Roll Eyes  JR

 
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« Reply #32 on: August 23, 2006, 08:00:16 PM »

I have one of the older buses. I also want mine returned home if it suffers a major break down. But, for me, the reality is a minimum of $4.00 per loaded mile (The co-op can't beat that, by much anyway) & If I'm just 1000 miles from home, well $4000 will go a long way to fix what ails it & then drive it home.

Christy is right about all the complications.

When you write the rules, be serious & realistic. Free towing from coast to coast is gonna run the dues thru the roof. A per loaded mile fee will allow more realistic number for dues/ premiums.


My initial gut reaction is with the above, but I am curious to what numbers ($$$.$$) per person you are talking and how it would work.

It would take one heck of alot of people to bring the cost down to reasonable vs risk.

And to be honest, I just don't see the numbers needed to justify even the initial equipment cost, much less the maintenance.

Not trying to be negative, just sharing my thoughts.
Cliff

Cliff, your being negative!  Wink
The cost to tow 1000 miles the way riggers figure wouldn't be $4K it would be more like $8K.  They charge based on gate to gate.  Not by loaded mile.  There may be some adjustment since your going to hire them for several days, but that would get expensive in a bodacious hurry.
What I had in mind was about $2.50 per mile.  It would be essentially utilized at a "cost" basis.  Around $2.50 is what it costs to operate a unit similar to what we're talking about...both tractor and trailer. 
The idea was not to cover the whole of the US...an area East of the Miss River would be enough. 
I'm looking at equipment costs.  Don't have anything to report...but it amuses me to look.
The idea that it would be "free" is not how it would work.  Members would be buying into the privelege of being able to utilize the service at what it costs to operate.    Roll Eyes  This factoid oughta change some dynamics!  Money can do that! 
New equipment is out of the question, but used is not.   A rough, but solid, trailer can be bought for $14K and up. I have the ability and facilities to store and service such equipment.   
Cliff, you coming to Timmonsville?  I'm coming to Ardacia...or I'll be broke down somewhere between?  Come on up to Timmonsville and I'll bring the heavy equipment trader.  Dallas can join the fray!   You know Dallas could operate this thing.  He's bus savvy, trucker extraodinaire, etc. 
See ya'll in Timmonsville.   I'll be a little quiet this weekend...got 4 gigs.  BUMMER!  Undecided   I screwed my LH rear turn signal up cleaning up the toad wiring.  The old light is some sort of a sealed unit.  Lukes got one on the way.  And, I've decided to try another fuel sender.  We'll keep a watch on it.  Very easy to remove. 
Arcadia will be the longest trip I've made in the bus.  Cliff, where's Turner Center in Arcadia?  Is it out on the North East side of town on Gibson street?   I found a place but it appears to be a mud field on googlemap.  Whatever,,,,how warm does it get down there in the winter?   I get cold pretty easy...bring my snow bibs.  That ought to take care of the problem.  Be a lot warmer down there than up here.
See ya'll soon someplace!  Met BobNC, Norm E, tried to meet Jim Shep, but he is too proficient and was completed and gone by the time I got out there.   
Cheerio, JR Cool

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« Reply #33 on: August 24, 2006, 04:35:43 AM »

I think someone touched on a good idea, that might be a step in the right direction for ALL busnuts. . .coming up with a registry of repair shops that can handle our big rigs and guarantee to treat us fairly.  You see, sometimes it's motors, sometimes brakes, sometimes air leaks, clutches, transmissions, axles, etc.  Many times, you may need a repair that will cost you less than even a "cost of operation" tow to your home.  Sometimes, you may not exactly want to go home, maybe you want the repair done so you can continue on with your trip.  Shoot, TempBus blew a power steering hose!  Now, that meant we weren't going anywhere very far, but the repair was less than $250 at the shop we used!  Wow Grin.  Yep, someone referred us to the shop, they plugged us in that night and gave us water so we could stay there, and then next morning, when the hose showed up, in no time we were on our way.  Many shops will go out of their way to leave a good impression or help someone out.

Many of the busnuts are capable of and do work on their own busses, and most do regular maintenance, but once your bus is complete and being used, it's pretty hard to check every single mechanical piece on that bus that could possibly fail. Wink  When you are on the road, you are not likely to have ALL the tools that you might need to perform a repair, and you certainly are not likely to have a shop available Sad.  Often, you have a fixed period of time for which you can be gone, so you really need the repair done fairly quickly.

Sure, if there happens to be a fellow busnut in that area, they may offer to help, but then again, there are times when that may not be the best choice.  I mean, Larry works on our bus, but he sure would not want to be working on the brakes or something on someone else's, because he wouldn't want the responsibility of possibly making a mistake or missing something and risking someone's life or property.  Even if you do everything right, new parts can fail Shocked.  Plus, many busnuts works full time, so they may not even be availble to do much until a weekend.  If you broke down, and you had the name of one or several shops in that region that have pledged to repair your bus quickly and treat you fairly, often, that would be a better option. 

I remember how just recently, someone was up north and needed work done on their bus, and several people suggested the same shop, as being a great place with which to deal.  As someone pointed out, $2000 or $4000 to tow a vehicle could be applied to a repair and would go a long ways. 

Not all shops try to stick it to travelers.  Our experience with the Cottman Transmission shop in Eastern New Orleans was wonderful.  They not only came and dragged our motorhome in for free, but they had us back on the road with a rebuilt transmission the same day, and the charge of $1000 for the rebuild was less than we would have paid in our own area!  Shocked I'd much rather need a new tranny in New Orleans than any other city in the country, ha ha. Sure, that was a motorhome, but still, what a deal!  Grin

Since MAK seems to be the "all bus" center of activity, a file on this board would be a logical place to start a comprehensive list of "decent" professional repair shops specifically geared to handle busses.   IMHO, Embarrassed Christy Hicks
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« Reply #34 on: August 24, 2006, 06:06:15 AM »

I made it home about 300 miles with a strange very loud knock at low rpm.  Turned out, every bolt in the flywheel was broken.

Len
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« Reply #35 on: August 24, 2006, 06:28:19 PM »

Well, I got my latest home today (1955 scenicruiser).  Grin  Grin

I had it moved by a first class towing out fit, Bruce's Hauling, in Lexington, SC. Bruce said he bases his fees on rig used & time away from shop.

Bruce said the 1 centrally located hauler would take too long to get to the disabled coach to be practical, cost wise & time wise.

He said that the best solution would be to have access to many, many haulers all over the country. This will minimize mileage & time on the job costs.

He also pointed out height issues. A landoll deck is 3’, add a 11’ coach & a 14’ overpass becomes a reroute that can add more miles & time away from the shop. A wrecker towing a coach minimizes over height issues.

Bruce let me ride in the big truck  Grin , a 2000 Pete 379 with a 550 CAT. That was fun.  Grin  Grin

I posted a picture for your review, (Thanks Richard!  Grin )

« Last Edit: August 28, 2006, 06:42:49 AM by kyle4501 » Logged

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« Reply #36 on: August 28, 2006, 06:45:24 AM »

Any luck with a road service provider?
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